Importance: Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli are highly antibiotic resistant, and primary ocular infection by ESBL E coli has rarely been reported. A novel mutation conferring phagocytosis resistance would position a strain well to infect the cornea. Observations: A woman with recurrent keratitis presented with a corneal ulcer, which was culture positive for ESBL E coli. Resistant to nearly all other antimicrobials, the infection was treated with amikacin and polymyxin B-trimethoprim, and the ulcer resolved over 3 weeks. Analysis of the E coli genome showed it to belong to multilocus sequence type 131 (ST131). This isolate was found to possess a novel deletion in yrfF, an essential regulator of bacterial capsule synthesis. Disruption of yrfF, which confers mucoidy and increased virulence, has not been previously observed in ESBL E coli from any infection site. This novel variant was experimentally proven to cause the mucoid phenotype, and corresponding resistance to phagocytic killing. Conclusions and Relevance: Increased resistance to immune clearance in an ESBL E coli lineage already known for its virulence is an unsettling development. This phenotype, which likely positioned it as an unusual cause of corneal ulcer, can be easily recognized in the laboratory, which should help limit its spread.
UNLABELLED: Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of life-threatening infections worldwide. The MIC of an antibiotic against S. aureus, as well as other microbes, is determined by the affinity of the antibiotic for its target in addition to a complex interplay of many other cellular factors. Identifying nontarget factors impacting resistance to multiple antibiotics could inform the design of new compounds and lead to more-effective antimicrobial strategies. We examined large collections of transposon insertion mutants in S. aureus using transposon sequencing (Tn-Seq) to detect transposon mutants with reduced fitness in the presence of six clinically important antibiotics-ciprofloxacin, daptomycin, gentamicin, linezolid, oxacillin, and vancomycin. This approach allowed us to assess the relative fitness of many mutants simultaneously within these libraries. We identified pathways/genes previously known to be involved in resistance to individual antibiotics, including graRS and vraFG (graRS/vraFG), mprF, and fmtA, validating the approach, and found several to be important across multiple classes of antibiotics. We also identified two new, previously uncharacterized genes, SAOUHSC_01025 and SAOUHSC_01050, encoding polytopic membrane proteins, as important in limiting the effectiveness of multiple antibiotics. Machine learning identified similarities in the fitness profiles of graXRS/vraFG, SAOUHSC_01025, and SAOUHSC_01050 mutants upon antibiotic treatment, connecting these genes of unknown function to modulation of crucial cell envelope properties. Therapeutic strategies that combine a known antibiotic with a compound that targets these or other intrinsic resistance factors may be of value for enhancing the activity of existing antibiotics for treating otherwise-resistant S. aureus strains. IMPORTANCE: Bacterial resistance to every major class of antibiotics has emerged, and we are entering a "post-antibiotic era" where relatively minor infections can lead to serious complications or even death. The utility of an antibiotic for a specific pathogen is limited by both intrinsic and acquired factors. Identifying the repertoire of intrinsic resistance factors of an antibiotic for Staphylococcus aureus, a leading cause of community- and hospital-acquired infections, would inform the design of new drugs as well as the identification of compounds that enhance the activity of existing drugs. To identify factors that limit the activity of antibiotics against S. aureus, we used Tn-Seq to simultaneously assess fitness of transposon mutants in every nonessential gene in the presence of six clinically important antibiotics. This work provides an efficient approach for identifying promising targets for drugs that can enhance susceptibility or restore sensitivity to existing antibiotics.
Infections caused by multiple organisms, or polymicrobial infections, are likely more common than is broadly appreciated. Interaction among microbial communities (and with their host) can change the infection landscape by subverting immunity, providing nutrients and inhibiting competing microbes. Stacy et al. (A. Stacy, D. Fleming, R. J. Lamont, K. P. Rumbaugh, and M. Whiteley, mBio 7:e00782-16, 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00782-16) described a novel mechanism that results in synergistic growth of oral microbes Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and Streptococcus gordonii The authors used whole-genome fitness profiling by transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) to identify genes differentially required for growth in vitro versus in a mono- or coinfection in a thigh abscess model. They found that coinfection with S. gordonii allowed A. actinomycetemcomitans to shift from an anaerobic to an aerobic mode of growth. This shift involved the production of a terminal electron acceptor H2O2 by S. gordonii and increased A. actinomycetemcomitans persistence-an interaction termed "cross-respiration."
PURPOSE: To study the clinical features of endogenous endophthalmitis (EE) in sample patient populations from the USA and South Korea over an 8-year period. METHODS: We reviewed data from 128 eyes of 60 American and 48 Korean patients diagnosed with EE and compared their clinical characteristics. RESULTS: Fungemia and liver abscess were the most common extraocular infection sources among American (26.7%) and Korean patients (33.3%), respectively. Klebsiella pneumoniae and Candida species were the most common pathogens of EE in the Korean and the American patients, respectively. Endophthalmitis caused by fungi had a better visual prognosis than that caused by bacteria (p = 0.001). Vitrectomy was beneficial for eyes with EE due to virulent bacteria presenting with worse than counting finger vision. CONCLUSIONS: The predisposing conditions and responsible organisms for EE vary in different regions of the world. The visual prognosis was strongly influenced by the underlying pathogen.
The transfer of DNA between Enterococcus faecium strains has been characterized both by the movement of well-defined genetic elements and by the large-scale transfer of genomic DNA fragments. In this work, we report on the whole-genome analysis of transconjugants resulting from mating events between the vancomycin-resistant E. faecium C68 strain and the vancomycin-susceptible D344RRF strain to discern the mechanism by which the transferred regions enter the recipient chromosome. Vancomycin-resistant transconjugants from five independent matings were analyzed by whole-genome sequencing. In all cases but one, the penicillin binding protein 5 (pbp5) gene and the Tn5382 vancomycin resistance transposon were transferred together and replaced the corresponding pbp5 region of D344RRF. In one instance, Tn5382 inserted independently downstream of the D344RRF pbp5 gene. Single nucleotide variant (SNV) analysis suggested that entry of donor DNA into the recipient chromosome occurred by recombination across regions of homology between donor and recipient chromosomes, rather than through insertion sequence-mediated transposition. The transfer of genomic DNA was also associated with the transfer of C68 plasmid pLRM23 and another putative plasmid. Our data are consistent with the initiation of transfer by cointegration of a transferable plasmid with the donor chromosome, with subsequent circularization of the plasmid-chromosome cointegrant in the donor prior to transfer. Entry into the recipient chromosome most commonly occurred across regions of homology between donor and recipient chromosomes.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) is an acute blistering disease of the skin and mucous membranes. Acute SJS leads to the acute inflammation of the ocular surface and chronic conjunctivitis. If not properly treated, it causes chronic cicatricial conjunctivitis and cicatricial lid margin abnormalities. Persistent inflammation and ulceration of the ocular surface with cicatricial complications of the lids leads to chronic ocular sequelae, ocular surface damage, and corneal scarring. The destruction of the glands that secrete the tear film leads to a severe form of dry eye that makes the management of chronic SJS difficult. The option that is routinely used for corneal visual rehabilitation, keratoplasty, is best avoided in such cases. We describe the management strategies that are most effective during the acute and chronic stages of SJS. Although treatments for acute SJS involve immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory therapies, amniotic membrane transplantation is also useful. The options for visual rehabilitation in patients with chronic SJS are undergoing radical change. We describe the existing literature regarding the management of SJS and highlight recent advances in the management of this disorder.
IMPORTANCE: Internet-based search engine and social media data may provide a novel complementary source for better understanding the epidemiologic factors of infectious eye diseases, which could better inform eye health care and disease prevention. OBJECTIVE: To assess whether data from internet-based social media and search engines are associated with objective clinic-based diagnoses of conjunctivitis. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Data from encounters of 4143 patients diagnosed with conjunctivitis from June 3, 2012, to April 26, 2014, at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, were analyzed using Spearman rank correlation of each weekly observation to compare demographics and seasonality of nonallergic conjunctivitis with allergic conjunctivitis. Data for patient encounters with diagnoses for glaucoma and influenza were also obtained for the same period and compared with conjunctivitis. Temporal patterns of Twitter and Google web search data, geolocated to the United States and associated with these clinical diagnoses, were compared with the clinical encounters. The a priori hypothesis was that weekly internet-based searches and social media posts about conjunctivitis may reflect the true weekly clinical occurrence of conjunctivitis. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Weekly total clinical diagnoses at UCSF of nonallergic conjunctivitis, allergic conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and influenza were compared using Spearman rank correlation with equivalent weekly data on Tweets related to disease or disease-related keyword searches obtained from Google Trends. RESULTS: Seasonality of clinical diagnoses of nonallergic conjunctivitis among the 4143 patients (2364 females [57.1%] and 1776 males [42.9%]) with 5816 conjunctivitis encounters at UCSF correlated strongly with results of Google searches in the United States for the term pink eye (ρ, 0.68 [95% CI, 0.52 to 0.78]; P < .001) and correlated moderately with Twitter results about pink eye (ρ, 0.38 [95% CI, 0.16 to 0.56]; P < .001) and with clinical diagnosis of influenza (ρ, 0.33 [95% CI, 0.12 to 0.49]; P < .001), but did not significantly correlate with seasonality of clinical diagnoses of allergic conjunctivitis diagnosis at UCSF (ρ, 0.21 [95% CI, -0.02 to 0.42]; P = .06) or with results of Google searches in the United States for the term eye allergy (ρ, 0.13 [95% CI, -0.06 to 0.32]; P = .19). Seasonality of clinical diagnoses of allergic conjunctivitis at UCSF correlated strongly with results of Google searches in the United States for the term eye allergy (ρ, 0.44 [95% CI, 0.24 to 0.60]; P < .001) and eye drops (ρ, 0.47 [95% CI, 0.27 to 0.62]; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Internet-based search engine and social media data may reflect the occurrence of clinically diagnosed conjunctivitis, suggesting that these data sources can be leveraged to better understand the epidemiologic factors of conjunctivitis.
Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) contain seven species (HAdV-A to -G), each associated with specific disease conditions. Among these, HAdV-D includes those viruses associated with epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), a severe ocular surface infection. The reasons for corneal tropism for some but not all HAdV-Ds are not known. The fiber protein is a major capsid protein; its C-terminal "knob" mediates binding with host cell receptors to facilitate subsequent viral entry. In a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of HAdV-D capsid genes, fiber knob gene sequences of HAdV-D types associated with EKC formed a unique clade. By proteotyping analysis, EKC virus-associated fiber knobs were uniquely shared. Comparative structural modeling showed no distinct variations in fiber knobs of EKC types but did show variation among HAdV-Ds in a region overlapping with the known CD46 binding site in HAdV-B. We also found signature amino acid positions that distinguish EKC from non-EKC types, and by in vitro studies we showed that corneal epithelial cell tropism can be predicted by the presence of a lysine or alanine at residue 240. This same amino acid residue in EKC viruses shows evidence for positive selection, suggesting that evolutionary pressure enhances fitness in corneal infection, and may be a molecular determinant in EKC pathogenesis. IMPORTANCE: Viruses adapt various survival strategies to gain entry into target host cells. Human adenovirus (HAdV) types are associated with distinct disease conditions, yet evidence for connections between genotype and cellular tropism is generally lacking. Here, we provide a structural and evolutionary basis for the association between specific genotypes within HAdV species D and epidemic keratoconjunctivitis, a severe ocular surface infection. We find that HAdV-D fiber genes of major EKC pathogens, specifically the fiber knob gene region, share a distinct phylogenetic clade. Deeper analysis of the fiber gene revealed that evolutionary pressure at crucial amino acid sites has a significant impact on its structural conformation, which is likely important in host cell binding and entry. Specific amino acids in hot spot residues provide a link to ocular cell tropism and possibly to corneal pathogenesis.
PURPOSE: To study corneal reinnervation and sensation recovery in Herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO). METHODS: Two patients with HZO were studied over time with serial corneal esthesiometry and laser in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM). A Boston keratoprosthesis type 1 was implanted, and the explanted corneal tissues were examined by immunofluorescence histochemistry for βIII-tubulin to stain for corneal nerves. RESULTS: The initial central corneal IVCM performed in each patient showed a complete lack of the subbasal nerve plexus, which was in accordance with severe loss of sensation (0 of 6 cm) measured by esthesiometry. When IVCM was repeated 2 years later before undergoing surgery, case 1 showed a persistent lack of central subbasal nerves and sensation (0 of 6). In contrast, case 2 showed regeneration of the central subbasal nerves (4786 μm/mm) with partial recovery of corneal sensation (2.5 of 6 cm). Immunostaining of the explanted corneal button in case 1 showed no corneal nerves, whereas case 2 showed central and peripheral corneal nerves. Eight months after surgery, IVCM was again repeated in the donor tissue around the Boston keratoprosthesis in both patients to study innervation of the corneal transplant. Case 1 showed no nerves, whereas case 2 showed new nerves growing from the periphery into the corneal graft. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that regaining corneal innervation and corneal function are possible in patients with HZO as shown by corneal sensation, IVCM, and ex vivo immunostaining, indicating zoster neural damage is not always permanent and it may recover over an extended period of time.
BACKGROUND: Acute respiratory infections (ARI) are the major worldwide health problem associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. Human adenovirus (HAdV) is one of the most common pathogens associated with viral ARI, and thus calls for specific diagnosis and better understanding of the epidemiology and clinical characteristics. METHODS: Total 4,130 children with ARI requiring hospitalization from 2012 to 2013 were retrospectively studied. Throat swab specimens were collected from each patient. Fluorescence Quantitative PCR was performed to detect adenovirus as well as other common ARI-related pathogens. The seven HAdV hypervariable regions (HVRs) of the hexon gene from fifty-seven HAdVs-positive samples collected in the seasonal peaks were sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis of HVRs was also conducted to confirm the molecular types and genetic variation. In addition, epidemiological features and co-infection with other human respiratory pathogens were investigated and analyzed. RESULTS: Of 4,130 hospitalized pediatric patients tested, the positive rates of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MP), and HAdV were 13.7%, 13.2%, and 12.0%, respectively. The HAdV positive patients accounted for 7.9%, 17.2%, 17.5% and 10.7% in age groups <1, 1-3, 3-6 and 6-14 years, respectively. Eighty-four HAdV positive children were co-infected with other respiratory pathogens (84/495, 17.0%). The most common co-infection pathogens with HAdV were MP (57.1%) and Human Bocavirus (HBoV) (16.7%). The majority of HAdV infected patients were totally recovered (96.9%, 480/495); However, four (0.8%) patients, who were previously healthy and at the age of 2 years or younger died of pneumonia. Seasonal peaks of HAdV infection occurred in the summer season of 2012 and 2013; the predominant HAdV type was HAdV-3 (70%), followed by HAdV-7 (28%). These epidemiological features were different from those in Northern China. The HAdV-55 was identified and reported for the first time in Guangzhou metropolitan area. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that all the HVR sequences of the hexon gene of HAdV-3 and -7 strains have high similarity within their individual types, and these strains were also similar to those circulating in China currently, indicating the conservation of hexon genes of both HAdV-3 and HAdV-7. CONCLUSIONS: Knowledge of the epidemiological features and molecular types of HAdV, a major pathogen of pediatric ARI, as well as other co-infected respiratory pathogens circulating in Guangzhou, southern China, is vital to predict and prevent future disease outbreaks in children. This study will certainly facilitate HAdV vaccine development and treatment of HAdV infections in children.
Allergic conjunctivitis is a common problem that significantly impairs patients' quality of life. Whether air pollution serves as a risk factor for the development of allergic conjunctivitis remains elusive. In this paper, we assess the relationship between air pollutants and weather conditions with outpatient visits for allergic conjunctivitis. By using a time-series analysis based on the largest dataset ever assembled to date, we found that the number of outpatient visits for allergic conjunctivitis was significantly correlated with the levels of NO2, O3, and temperature, while its association with humidity was statistically marginal. No associations between PM10, PM2.5, SO2, or wind velocity and outpatient visits were seen. Subgroup analyses showed that sex seemed to modify the effects of humidity on outpatient visits for allergic conjunctivitis, but not for NO2, O3, or temperature. People younger than 40 were found to be susceptible to changes of all four parameters, while those older than 40 were only consistently affected by NO2 levels. Our findings revealed that higher levels of ambient NO2, O3, and temperature increase the chances of outpatient visits for allergic conjunctivitis. Ambient air pollution and weather changes may contribute to the worsening of allergic conjunctivitis.